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The next day going to town with the old man and visit factories. We met various folks that we knew but were not allowed to talk with them. We were not allowed to stop and were told "Keep going, if you please". After being there for a couple of days we started talking about a job. "Yes, no, it doesn't work that way over here" said the old man. "First you should go out for some food and then we will see what's next. You do have money for food so don't hurry in finding a job".
At first we were visiting acquaintances each evening, drinking coffee:
Johannes Teakes, Andries Heins, Jan Mastricht, Renze and Klaas van der Woude, Reinder Koning and Trijntje, where I boarded later on and who became an uncle and aunt by marriage. After about a week or three, four I got a job with a man from Groningen and Jasper found work at a farm. Siebe, who never had any experience with horses, took Jasper to the farm and got a job as a carpenter because the farmer's house had burned down. Once the house was rebuilt I couldn't find a job in the city. I went to a resort at lake Michigan. A big hotel was built there for 500 guests. About 50 men worked there. I have been there for 20 weeks and helped finishing the complete hotel. Sjouke de Zee mentions this hotel in his travellog too. The boss was from England and so were most of the workers but I got along with them real fine. Working very hard though, that's for sure! After that I got a job again with a Groninger boss who moved a complete church and then built a new part to it. Siebe was working there too at the time. Later on this man was contracted for a carpenting job in Allegon, a town about thirteen hours from Holland. In Allegon lived a lot of black people and also we saw some Indians. Don't see too many of them. They live mostly in the far West, at their own Indian territory.
It was here where we fell down along with a whole pile of wood. We were lucky at the time even though it looked pretty bad. One man was thrown down quite a distance and broke his arm. Falling down twentyfive feet is not amusing, to say the least, but after a few days we went back to work. After this incident I was hired by a boss who had a small factory along with an American. They made doors and windows but mainly screendoors and -windows to keep mosquitos out. Siebe was going to a factory where Jasper was working. Jasper did not like his job at the farm. I think he was there for about ten weeks. In the factory Hein, son of Andries Heins, was a foreman and he helped them a bit. At the time work was like it is now, rather slack. but nowadays it is much better. More than half as much wages and lots of work. $ 1.25 is all I made working for the Hollanders, later the English paid $ 2. Nowadays they pay 3 to 4 dollars a day.

It is very cold there in winter. So we made sure to get a job in a factory in time. Twenty degrees below zero is nothing special and in a couple of houres two feet of snow can fall causing traffic jams untill the snow-ploughs cleaned the streets. Nothing special about these snow-ploughs. A few horses and some men on them. But what the railroad tracks were cleaned with was something else, especially at places where the snow was piled up by the wind in between a couple of hills. The snow was twisted out and  flew about like smoke.
But oh, terrible. What an accident happened at the time. That big factory where Jasper worked, burned down one night. That sure was quite a sight. More than 400 man worked there. It was the biggest furniture factory of Holland. It was said that the owner had set the factory to fire. That man was a candidate for the Congress and had travelled along with Bryan in the morning to Benton Harbour. Before they left Bryan had him make a speech of an hour on a big flat railroad wagon first. That, of course, to get votes. And to put pressure on the people: "If we do not win, the factory can never be rebuilt". Later, when McKinley had won the election, it was rebuilt nevertheless.
It was between 9 and 10 in the evening when the fire-whistle gave the alarm. Each factory had a steam-whistle to let the men know the beginning and end of their shift and lunchtime. They all had a different sound and everyone knew them to their fingertips. The fire-whistle, however, had it's own very special sound and when it was blown at night everybody jumped out of bed immediately. People were scared to death for fire. I think that was because the whole city burned down on October 9, 1871. At each corner of a block there was a telegraph pole with an alarm to it and in every house at the corner of that block was a key to activate that alarm. If that key was turned in the alarm, the operator of the waterwork station (being the electric power station at the same time) knew immediately and precisely the number of the alarm. He then blew that number with that terrifying steam-whistle which went like this. First he blew the ten number, then a short pause and next the single number and that was repeated afterwards. The fire-brigade got the fire-hose wagons out and flew like swallows to the location that had been given. At each corner of the block was a fire hydrant with three connections for hoses. If it was a fire of importance all factories would blow their whistles too in order to wake up the whole city, just in case.
We went to take a look at the fire and after we had seen enough we said to each other: "Come, let's also take a look at the waterwork station because the biggest pump would not be used other than in case of fire". And my, oh my, there was really something going on (compared to this the Cruquius at the Haarlemmermeer polder was pretty slack). But no matter how hard they pumped and how many hoses and fire-engines were used, the whole bit burned down. Yet, they were able to limit the loss to one lot and the warehouses were saved too. Because rebuilding the factory was delayed by the elections there was not much work that winter en many people had to be supported by means of poor-relief. That's no shame if the reason is beyond your control. It was said that people were treated in a descent manner and food was not expensive. Jasper left to work for a farmer in Heartford (Connecticut). Siebe went to school for some time and later on worked in furniture factories all the time. Next spring I moved and restored a house along with an American. That was some shrewd rascal who cheated both me, the merchants and his boss.

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